The NFL isn’t letting their investigation into allegations of drug use by several players, including Green Bay Packers linebackers Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews, die after all. The league plans to interview the players implicated in the Al Jazeera investigation on the first day of training camp.
Adolpho Birch, the league’s senior vice president of labor policy and league affairs, wrote in a strongly worded letter to NFL counsel Heather McPhee – obtained Friday by USA TODAY Sports – that Green Bay Packers linebackers’ Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews and Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison all will be scheduled for interviews the day camps open.
For Peppers and Matthews, that day will be July 26.
Former Packers linebacker Mike Neal, who is still a free agent, is slated to be interviewed before July 22.
All three players were tied to a “drug ring” in the same Al Jazeera report that tied former Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning to HGH. All three players denied any wrongdoing.
The NFL opened this investigation in January. Several months later, when it was revealed they hadn’t even talked to the players involved, we all assumed it was a sham. After all, the NFL gains little by punishing a couple of their biggest defensive stars and the former face of the league, Peyton Manning.
However, it now appears that the NFLPA was trying to block the NFL from talking to the players.
This is from the league’s letter.
“While the investigation has proceeded, we have yet to interview the players. We have attempted since early April to work through the NFLPA to schedule them, but despite multiple requests the NFLPA has failed to respond, except to seek reconsideration of the basis for the investigation. This continuing delay and avoidance has obstructed our ability to conduct and conclude the investigation.”
In the initial report, both Peppers and Neal were tied to PEDs, while Matthews was tied to painkillers.
We’ve raised questions about the ability of the NFL to take action against players for drug violations who haven’t failed drug tests. The collective bargaining agreement says they can, stating that players found to have used, possessed or distributed performance-enhancing substances, even without a failed test or legal conviction can be disciplined.
And you know what happens if the NFL does try to discipline one of these guys?
The NFLPA takes it to court. And if Deflategate is any indication, that means the process will drag out over at least a year.
That likely means Peppers is safe, at least assuming he retires after the season. Matthews is the concern if you’re a Packers fan.
Although, if it is indeed painkillers and not PEDs for Clay, we’re not sure how a professional football player can be disciplined for that.
If Matthews took or tried to obtain prescription painkillers without an actual prescription that is a legal violation either in fact or in “conspiracy to commit”. Breaking the law by a player is addressable by discipline from the NFL. It should not be too hard to understand. This has been a fact for years now.
The discipline can be appealed internally but I doubt any legal battle like Deflategate. Deflategate is a new type of thing, a unique situation. Disciplining players for breaking the law has been going on so long it almost feels like a cultural tradition. There is no great mystery here as to what would happen IF it can be proven.
Proving it will be the difficulty. The interviews are due diligence and absolutely necessary or the investigation really would be a farce. Short interviews would also be a farce. Softball questions would also be a farce. In other words, we still don’t know if this investigation is a farce just going through the motions.
The words written above :… the NFL gains little by punishing a couple of their biggest defensive stars….” shows a lot of cynicism that the NFL only does what serves it rather than what is right. Is that cynicism deserved? Hell yeah! However, it also shows a lack of understanding of the big picture. And of reality.
Firstly, if the NFL is purely a self-serving entity (as it mostly is) then the greatest possible risk of damage is not investigating or showing preferential treatment to players or trying to aid in a cover-up, not actually legitimately investigating it. That is the greatest risk by far. Every sport and certainly the NFL has had players do wrong. A few more, a couple several every year, does no harm. Letting them get away with it and sending that message or covering it up, etc. would do massive harm.
Secondly, Matthews and Peppers are very good players (at least when hyped up on PEDs and painkillers) but they are not a couple of the biggest defensive stars. JJ.Watt, Von Miller, Justin Houston, Derelle Revis, Richard Sherman, Josh Norman, Ezekial Ansah, Khalil Mack, Muhammed Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, Ndamakah Suh, Novorro Bowman, Kawann Short, Luke Keuchkly, Harrison Smith, Chandler Jones, Calais Campbell, Everson Griffen, Tyrann Matthieu, Marcell Dareous, Geno Atkins, Kam chancellor, Earl Thomas, Linval Joseph, Aqib Talib, DeMarcus Ware, Chris Harris, Fletcher Cox, Eric Berry, Thomas Davis, Gerald McCoy, and Michael Bennett, just to name some, are all better players than Matthews and Peppers. Who knows how much better they are than them when Matthews and Peppers are not hyped up on painkiller and PEDs?
Painkillers are serious. This is not aspirin folks. Prescription painkillers have many mild-altering effects well besides dampening pain. Think ab out this: For legitimate pain Matthews has almost limitless access to properly prescribed painkillers. Twisted ankle? Here’s is a bottle for you, Clay. Teams distribute that stuff easily like popcorn at a movie theater. If he was trying or actually obtaining pain-killers it almost certainly would have been to get high. There impact, the illegal ones you can’t get from your team doctor, get you much more high than marijuana or cocaine.
These are serious and actually very credible accusations that it is in the NFL’s own best interest to investigate thoroughly and address severely if proven. The reason I say it is credible is that Charlie Sly and Mike Neal were buddies and there are photos of them in personal situations smiling together arm in arm. Sly visited the Packers players. Sly is a proven distributor of illegal PEDs and drugs without prescription. In a conversation he did not know was being recorded, when at ease, he talked about Manning, Matthews, Neal, and Peppers. He was either telling the truth or he was lying. If you are going to lie why make up a lie about your buddy Neal? Why would Neal hang out with a drug pusher anyway if he had no interest in those drugs? Why would he lie about Matthews and Peppers, 2nd or 3rd tier defensive performers, when he could have made up a much more impressive story about Justin Houston coming off a 22 sack season at the time or some other top tier NFL performers? Why would he have so many from one team when he could make it seem more widespread, common and acceptable by naming players from 4 different teams? Why would he say Matthews just tried to get painkillers when he could have said he actually did? What he said about Peyton Manning is basically confirmed: he said the PEDs were sent to Manning’s wife and Manning does not actually EVER deny that. And yet there are only 4 medical conditions that would make her receiving them legitimate and she does not seem to have any of the 4. So, to recap, he does not deny she received them at their house by mail and has not provided a legitimate reason. So, why were they getting PEDs in the mail? If not legitimate then….
So a Packer fan would have to believe that some of what Sly says is true but any of it regarding their players happens to be untrue but the rest is true even though what is said about the Packer players does not fit in with what a known drug dealer would actually ever lie about. I’m sure many Packer fans, good at fooling themselves, will be able to do that.
What Sly said in casual relaxed conversation seems to have the ring of truth. It may not be proven but I’ll always believe those 4 being guilty is the most logical and reasonable and likely truth.
Man that was a long comment. I read all the way to “actual prescription” in the first sentence
Ferris wheel, your statement is either true or untrue.
If true, it is your loss of a learning opportunity and nothing to brag about.
But no one, not even a Packer fan, would be silly enough to brag about being unable to read an entire sentence and then motivate themselves to then write an entire sentence proclaiming this lack of focus and skill. I know you will deny it with the statement, “No, really, I am silly enough. I’m just a silly silly silly.”
No, what you really are is a liar who agrees with me. You lied about how much you read, the truth burned you like sunlight melting a vampire, and you were frustrated because you either had to agree with my logic or could not marshal the mental resources to form a logic-based disagreement. So, in a fit of truth frustration and typical immaturity, you lashed out by trying to pretend you never read these truths trying to undue the damage to your delicate Packer psyche.
I pity you, Ferris wheel.
If Matthews is a druggie, that might explain why he knocked up and married that old fossil. He can blame it on being high…….lol